Part Deux: Enjoying Your San Diego Trip Without A Four Day Pass

Here at Con Sweet Con, we would never leave you hanging. So here are more con-related off-site events that either reoccur every year, or give you an idea of similar events you can to look forward to. This will definitely fill those days you find yourself badgeless! Seriously, as you will read we could not even participate in them all ourselves between the six of us.

Nerd HQ is one of those events we did not get to experience ourselves. We tried to score tickets to the panels last year, no such luck. However, it sounds like you can drop by at anytime to partake in good old fashioned nerd fun. Per their site they state last year's activities included: “Xbox, the gaming sponsor of the Nerd HQ, will once again fill the event with 40 gaming stations featuring the newest and yet to be released titles. Crystal Dynamics will debut the first playable demo of the completely reborn Tomb Raider franchise, exclusively at the HQ. Vizio, the technology sponsor of the Nerd HQ, will provide Laptops, Tablets, and PC’s for fans to demo. Their monitors will fill the space and fans will get to see their newest 3D technology with exclusive content for Nerd HQ."

Give up some of that precious blood! Every year the San Diego Blood Bank hosts a drive right across the street from the convention.  Two years ago my husband sat next to Jamie from Mythbusters. Obviously he didn’t bother Jamie since it doesn’t really seem the time or place, but he was psyched about it anyway. Also the blood bank hooks you up with some awesome True Blood swag! It typically consists of a t-shirt, water, bandages, a swag bag, and other random goodies. Just to top it all off you get a little treat to eat before you go, like cookies or crackers. Please guys, take an hour and visit the drive. Besides all this cool stuff, you really are saving a life. We will give you guys a heads up when registration opens.

Get spooky at the Haunted Hotel! We are big Halloween fans, especially haunted attractions. Even in July, the Haunted Hotel brings the thrills. It was even featured on the Travel Channel. Hopefully they will be open for SDCC again this year. Previously it has opened for Friday and Saturday night. I believe they even gave SDCC attendees a special rate!
Con of the Dead event: Not sure if this is yearly, but probably not since sources say Nerd HQ is taking over Pet Co Park. However, that's probably a good thing. This event was totally lame. Not to be mean, but my husband is huge into House of 1000 Corpses and other Rob Zombie related things. This just didn’t offer anything entertaining. People walked around in cool costumes and they had a few side show people to check out. That's pretty much it. He and a friend waited in line for 3 hours for a t-shirt. You heard it, 3 hours. Plus to add insult to injury, the t-shirt feels like a poster was plastered to the front, so it has never been worn. Poor guy. Plus they kept running the same short promo every couple of minutes. They had good intentions, this one just didn't pan out.
The following are examples of a few of the many promotional events held in the convention area last year. Although this year will feature different promotions, it should give you a peek into what you will be walking into come July 18th (most of these were still being built or not yet functional as of preview night last year).
Disney featured a Frankenweenie promotion directly across from the convention center in a tent like building with a cute little garden. Every day you could visit and walk through the small exhibit, take pictures and get swag. Yep, walk in, get swag. Disney handed out their Frankenweenie Subway bags that they later featured in their kids meals. It also included a glow stick, a very awesome pin (just like the ones Disney collectors grab up at the parks), and a bag of seeds.
Grimm featured a huge display in front of the Hard Rock. I have it on another’s word that you were given Grimm swag bags after walking through this forest like display that included an aluminum RV like one from the show. (YES, we had so much to do we couldn’t even fit this in and we stayed at the Hard Rock…. so there is truly plenty to do at SDCC!)
Coma the TV miniseries had a promotional area closer to the Children’s Park across from the convention. Once again I did not get to go through this, however I take it on word from another SDCC attendee that they gave you a hospital type wristband and walked you through the Coma center. At the end, you could get a Coma temporary tattoo.
The History Channel set up the world’s largest BBQ right next to the Coma promotion. You waited in a sizable line, then were treated to Hodad’s Burgers and onion rings. I also believe there was a pulled BBQ concoction. They even provided water to wash it all down. We did hear reports that at times they ran out, but if you had time, why not wait for a free meal?
Adventure Time Land of Ooo at the Children’s Museum was also an interesting small promotion featured at SDCC. There was consistently a sizable line, but what do you expect... it’s the Land of Ooo people! After being granted access to the Land of Ooo, you walked through one room decorated like Ooo and were given a locker to open in the next room where a surprise would await you. For our group, this meant key chains. We did watch the first groups that entered walk out with pillows and laptop cases. If they do anything similar to this again, word to the wise, be first in line.

The ParaNorman signing is once again another event I almost participated in. It was located on one of the avenues, going to guess and say 4th. I also think it was in something called, Yahoo Spotlight. Which is yet another thing we did not get to check out (getting the drift here, too much to do). The ParaNorman cast was doing a signing there and I got a ticket with a code from Twitter. Unfortunately, we had to jet to another event. So sadly I gave my ticket to another person waiting in line. Later we ran into them at the Item 47 event and they gave me the autographed poster!!! SDCC ROCKS because of the ATTENDEES! Seriously, that was so sweet!

MARVEL ITEM 47, ahh geez I guess it’s time to rehash this. It was so fun at first. We downloaded an app specifically for SDCC. We estimated when the countdown would end and our adventure would begin. Totally psyched after years of Dexter scavenger hunts; we grabbed our phones and ran around Gaslamp like fools! You had to decode these puzzles and then you ended up at different locations. At the end, secret agents gave you wristbands to enter the Item 47 event! It was so awesome that we gave up many other plans to wait in line and make sure we got into the screening. It started… and it ended. Nothing great happened. We got a poster that was so tiny… and a card to watch some behind the scenes stuff online. I'm trying not to be rude, but that app cost a pretty penny to make just to ego trip about some additional content on the Avengers DVD. Dexter killed us with kindness the years before. We were awarded complete seasons of Dexter on DVD before they were released, bobble heads and t-shirts. Marvel really disappointed some of us. This one registers as a loss. However, if you aren’t getting in to SDCC on a particular day, it was still free and you got to hang out with SDCC peps. So here’s to hoping for better Marvel events next year that either take less time and effort or really pay off.

P.S. We weren't the only folks let down by this. If you look closely at the pic in this blog, part of our crew is actually in it. Plus it is a great write up on the event.

That's it for now. Hopefully, you are booking your flight to San Diego as we speak! Never fret single day badge holders, your future is clear for July 17-21st, as all signs point to busy!


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